Capping off the year in a blast of blazing speed, furious melodics and marvelous power metal like a thunder of dragons clashing in battle, it’s Krilloan smashing the hammer and unveiling their debut album, Emperor Rising. Of course, everyone knows Sweden’s had it fair share of power metal glory, plenty of bands from the 2000-ish era reaching near legend status, so when Krilloan showed up about a year or so ago few eyebrows were raised. The debut EP released last year was nice and all as a taste of what’s to come, and then the guys really held it in until the last minute here to get their first full length released just in the nick of time to get onto the best of 2022 lists. What’s herein presented is sprawling with speedy, melodic guitar antics, sprinkled with high a high octane rhythm section and high pitched vocals; it’s full of cheese, fantastic in every sense, an ode to power metal. Straight from the get go we’re presented with Prince of Caledor, a massive opener, a blast of fun and fury in melodic flourish. The riffing is fast, it’s hungry, it’s driving a dragon shooting fire and napalm; Klas Holmgren and Steve Brockmann make for an axe wielding duo slapping the melodic crap out of you as you delve onward.
Sure, nothing on here is really groundbreaking, but it’s done with such conviction, such belief in the craft you can’t help but be swept along for the ride, swinging your sword all along the way. Ok, so to call Krilloan a Swedish band might be stretching it, since most members are in fact not Swedish - but the frozen tundra of the North is where they made their beginning, and you’ve got all the classic Swedish power metal greats represented in the influences. It all hearkens back to that second era of great power metal around the turn of the millenium, Swedes running the forefront; Lost Horizon, Crystal Eyes, even newer bands like Twilight Force - Krilloan pay tribute to them all, in their own way. Alex VanTrue’s high octane performance, akin to the likes of Alessandro Conti (Trick or Treat, Twilight Force) brings just the right amount of cheese, and he has the talent to back it up. High notes and shouts blast just as frequent as fret blazing melodic solos, choruses thick with sing along layered vox; the man embraces all the fun and adds his charismatic touch to the end result.
What Emperor Rising might just be lacking is that direction shift, something to break the mold - typically it’d be a ballad, but not necessarily so; it could be a slow burner that takes a minute or two to burst. As it stands, we’re presented with 36 minutes (they really rush by) of furious metal, and a break in between could be the moment to really emphasize how great those 36 minutes are. It’s a short album, but Krilloan still manage to get a bit of everything great in there. Take the title track, which just bites and claws and draws all kinds of fire in pure speed and fury; take Stormlight with its pure approach, vibrant and deep with an unending rhythm section, VanTrue channeling his greatest Kaladin Stormblessed and just plain fucking power metal madness. Krilloan are definitely not out to reinvent the wheel, but they’re definitely here to prove power metal isn’t dead and to add some much needed jet fuel to the dragonfire; time to make it fucking roar.
Standout tracks: Fireborn, Emperor Rising, Stormlight